Dear friend of IWGIA,
Indigenous Peoples have continued to fight and advocate for their rights and for equal protection and access to services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the start of 2020, COVID-19 rapidly spread across the globe and throughout the first half of the year we have seen many countries severely affected. Indigenous communities have mobilised their traditional knowledge to isolate and protect themselves from incursions and infection by outsiders as an increase in illegal activities grows on their lands. However, the increased vulnerability of Indigenous Peoples and communities continues as existing health and service infrastructure, which in many cases was already inadequate, has been overburdened. Already marginalised before the pandemic, Indigenous Peoples are being pushed even further behind and left out of responses to the crisis. Without access to adequate healthcare or relevant infrastructure many communities face multiple threats, including the persecution of Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders (IPHRDs) during lockdowns.
In our response to COVID-19, IWGIA has taken a number of steps to ensure our partners and the communities we support remain safe. We remain in continuous contact with our partners and communities and have increased our flexibility in the projects we implement together. We have also taken measures to ensure the safety of our staff. The Secretariat has been working virtually from home since mid-March and has postponed and/or cancelled any business-related travel.
All over the world, people have gone to the streets to protest against growing inequality, the actions of state actors against IPHRDs, and the failure of many states to consider Indigenous Peoples in their responses to the pandemic.
At the same time, IWGIA has continued to document and advocate against human rights violations around the globe. We have added a new section to our website under the news category which specifically focuses on COVID-19.
We have also enhanced our work on Spanish communication throughout 2020, highlighting how Indigenous Peoples have been documenting and fighting against the pandemic. We continue to produce tailored coronavirus information and prevention campaigns based on projects with our partners around the world.
In Africa and Asia we continued to document the ongoing human rights violations and land grabbing against Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh, the COVID-19 response in Tanzania, and supporting the COVID-19 and Humanity series of updates from Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP). We also released a new publication on the continued violence and violations of Indigenous Peoples rights in the Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
Further, we successfully launched the 34th edition of The Indigenous World in May with excellent panel events hosted online via Zoom in both English and Spanish: Indigenous World 2020 // El Mundo Indígena 2020
You can read or download the English and Spanish version of The Indigenous World here: English // Spanish
From all of us at IWGIA, we thank you for your continued support.
Yours sincerely, David Berger – Advisor at IWGIA.